Live Auctions

The Name Game: 1978 Dodge Li’l Red Express

The 800-pound gorilla and/or elephant in the room in regard to these trucks is always the name, it bounces around more than a Senate committee hearing and there are more variations than there are “coffee” flavors at Dunkin. The seller has this 1978 Dodge Li’l Red Express…Truck listed here on eBay in Clifford, Pennsylvania and there is a $38,950 buy-it-now price or you can make an offer.

Is it Dodge Li’l Red Express? Yes. Is it also Dodge L’il Red Truck? Yes again. How about Dodge Li’l Red Express Truck? Bingo yet again. Highly-respected vehicle magazines and websites, not to mention Dodge websites, use all three versions and maybe more. The tailgate says Li’l Red Truck but I think the confusion may be with the doors which show EXPRESS in big letters in the center of a Dodge Li’l Red Truck graphic. Dodge mainly used “Li’l Red Truck”, but what’s your answer?

These muscle trucks were made for two model years, 1978 and 1979 with some variation in the details. The biggest visible change is that Dodge went from two round headlights in 1978 to a new grille and four rectangular headlights in 1979. The biggest non-visual change is that the emissions loophole changed for 1979 so the final year trucks came with catalytic converters. The seller lists the mileage as being 46,340 and this truck appears to be in outstanding condition. I’m not sure if the wheels would be original, however? For an asking price over Hagerty’s #2 excellent value of $36,200, I would expect to have the original wheels, but that’s just me.

For some reason, the seller didn’t provide any overall interior photos and the photo above is the only visible flaw that stands out for this pickup either inside or outside. They show a few close-up interior photos but none that show the whole thing at once. These trucks all came with two-wheel-drive and a slightly-modified A-727 automatic three-speed transmission. There was no manual option.

The engine is Dodge’s 360 cubic-inch V8 and 225 horsepower and that was the only one available. It was also slightly modified, according to AllPar, as an E58-spec police engine with “SuperFlow” heads and other goodies. They are known as being fast, at least for 1978 standards, and were reported to be the fastest American production vehicle of the time from 0 to 100 mph. Any thoughts on this truck?

Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    Nice clean and looks like a well kept truck. Couple of flaws and seems like owner wants all the marbles for this one. Think they’re a little steep on the price, but hey someone might just step in there. Don’t see these too often anymore.

    Like 15
  2. Squigly

    Back when these were new, I thought those pipes were idiotic. My friends and I decided they were to imitate a big rig semi, as CB radio at the time was all the craze and that came from the over the road truckers. CW McCall really started something crazy. CB love eventually died out and people forgot they just had to have those. 20 years later cell phones picked up the slack and never looked back.

    Like 6
  3. Big C

    The 1978’s are the ones to have.

    Like 16
  4. Squigly

    Never liked these, silly. Just give a stout work truck and be done with it.

    Like 2
  5. Tort Member

    A little red truck that has a decal on the door saying it’s a little red truck?? Not as bad a driving around a car that says it is an Official Indianapolis Pace Car that never has been within hundreds of miles from the Brickyard. Not knocking anyone that’s likes that sort of thing but why?

    Like 3
  6. George Louis

    The wheels shown on this truck are not original. They were a chrome plated 5 slots. The original tires that came on this truck were: White Letter Outline Goodyear GT RADIALS, for your information. The production numbers for model years 1978 are 2188, for 1979 5118 vehicles produced. Also, remember the 1978 version was listed as a 1978 Model Year three quarter launch year as production started in April 1978. There were two Plants that produced these vehicles: The Tecumseh Road Truck Plant in Windsor, Ontario Canada and the Warren Truck Plant Plant Code 02452 in Warren, Mi.

    Like 7
  7. Christopher Harvey

    Wheels not original. Dash, seats & tops of door panels all seem to not wear well over time. The steering wheel & seat were special to this truck & Warlocks. There we very quick to 80-90 mph. My dad had 79 that was a real tire burner!

    Like 6
    • bone

      The seats were the same as in my 1978 Prospector, but blue. The door panels were also the same, with the wood grain inserts , the same woodgrain panels on the instrument cluster as well. The steering wheel is a “Tuff” wheel , an option on from Chrysler from at least 1973 . Maybe out west the panels wore quickly, but when I retired mine due to the tin worm in 1991, the door panels, dashboard, tilt column and the seat were still in great shape ; the wood grain parts went to a buddy of mine for spares for his Lil Red , and the front clip and seat ended up on an old Sno Commander

      Like 3
  8. eddie hull

    Didn’t they originally come with canvas covered wagon style bed toppers?

    Like 3
    • George Louis

      NO NO NO NEVER WAS A FACTORY BED COVER. Standard or optional.

      Like 1
  9. Jim Merrick

    Fastest production vehicle in North America at the time, bar none.
    These have a well-deserved cult following.
    Styled as both a country hauler with a woody bed and a big-rig semi in the middle of the semi-tractor craze, and faster than Corvettes, Trans Ams and Z/28s, these checked all the boxes for desirability.

    Like 9
  10. Parkerdo

    I always considered these trucks to fall in the category of “What were they thinking??”

    Like 2
  11. Riffraff

    My boss had one of these new in 1978. He was so impressed with the power he offered to race my 1968 Roadrunner that had a professionally built engine. I agreed and he was so embarrassed he sold the truck with less than 5,000 miles. I never liked the “stacks and stickers” trucks. They were cleaner looking without the bling, IMO.

    Like 3
  12. Howie

    This one does look very clean, but too high on price.

    Like 4
  13. George Louis

    Does not say how many miles are on this ride. 1978’s used the “TUFF STEERING WHEEL”.1979 used the black steering wheel that was used on the Omni 024 two door cars. This vehicle also does not have factory A/C. The dash panel should not be split as shown in the picture. Do not know if this has the bench seat or the bucket/buddy seat set up, nor the condition of the seating surfaces.

    • karl

      The Ebay auction clearly shows the bench seat ; unless you’re talking about the cracks in the vinyl ,the dash is not split, the glove box door is large and that is what they look like when open. The truck is not A/C equipped and the heater control is visible on the dash and the heater box and lower vents are shown in the auction . The auction listing says the truck has 46K on it

      Like 2
  14. karl

    The Ebay auction clearly shows the bench seat ; unless you’re talking about the cracks in the vinyl ,the dash is not split, the glove box door is large and that is what they look like when open. The truck is not A/C equipped and the heater control is visible on the dash and the heater box and lower vents are shown in the auction . The auction listing says the truck has 46K on it

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